Friday, August 31, 2007

Damn




Last night Justine and I went to yoga and left the kids with her regular babysitter, this precious teen-ager named Clara. I was incredibly nervous about it, and Justine tried to reassure me by reminding me that Clara's mother was just 3 houses away, that she watches the boys all the time, etc etc. But it wasn't FLIPPER'S well-being I was worried about...it was Clara's. I am always so fearful of having the terrible kid that cries and cries and drives someone completely insane. But she was fine. This morning I met Erika at The Cult and had to pry her sobbing body off mine and forcibly toss her into the extra car seat in Erika's car. She is in this clingy, whiny, shy stage right now and I can unequivocally say that I hate it. Can't stand it. Want to throttle her. Well, not really. But patience running very very very thin with this latest "phase." After about 2 minutes, I can feel my blood pressure rising, and the annoying thing is that nothing I say will make her stop. She was even a little freak yesterday at kindergarten orientation. Ignored the teacher (whom she knows), refused to play with anything...finally, after about 45 minutes of this she started playing with some of the silks and clamps, just when it was time to wrap it up. Maddening.

Flipper has-amazingly-managed to avoid repeating the bad words that come out of my mouth on a semi-regular basis (thank God) but occasionally-and I stress the occasion here, she does. The one word she has decided to glom onto is the word damn. I can't blame her, it is such a satisfying-and largely unoffensive- bad word, and she only wields it when her Ned-Flanders-use of "shoot" just doesn't cut it. This is leading up to say that it is largely used in relation to the dogs (hey, wait a minute, maybe she does copy me after all) but in a way I find hysterically funny. Although I avoid laughing out loud. Usually. Our hot sticky days are punctuated by the 45 minutes of hell: aka "taking the damn dogs for a walk." This is pretty much non-optional: they need the exercise-as do I- and without it Sophie paces the house, filled with pent-up energy that must be released. The air-conditioned comfort of the house (how I dread the power bill) tricks them into feeling frisky, and so off we go, dogs yoked together on retractable leash, Flipper with ice water filled CamelBak in the purple jog stroller, and me, pushing and holding the leash, usually with cell phone clamped to ear. (Averaging 1100 minutes/month. Terrifying.) After we walk past the POSTED: NO TRESPASSING sign I release the dogs and they scamper about, running around in the huge field while I slog forward, head down, sweat trickling...the whole entire uncomfortable miserable mile. The dogs will try to nibble little deer pellets, much to my disgust, and I will scream at them to stop. Flipper figured out that this was unacceptable, and decided to try out her rather tenuous grasp of cursing at the same time. "THEY'RE DAMN!!" she'll scream. And how right she is...they are damn. I think I'll start copying her speech patterns instead.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pain and Agony

There will come a point, I am sure, when Flipper's bad moods are not related to the amount of rest she has had. Like teen-agerdom. But for awhile, I think I can safely say that with adequate sleep she is an absolute angel, without she is a loathesome creature that can only whine and burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Over and over again. And even though I am going on 4 + years with her, I still find it incredibly hard to deal with. I can't figure out which is worst: the whining or the hysterical response to the very smallest of inconveniences, or the sobbing over non-existant injuries: I was running in the kitchen and bended my toe and it hurted so can I have a Band-Aid? I try to be patient and succeed...for about 10 minutes. Then I get more and more annoyed and irritated with her, and start The Countdown To Bedtime. Her preoccupation with teeny tiny "injuries" and hurts is the most maddening. Christ, Flipper, suck it up!! I often tell her this, un-sympathetic mommy that I am. Once I actually said (get this) "Life is full of pain so you might as well get over it and save your crying for a REAL injury like a broken leg." (or the real injury I am going to inflict on you in about 3 seconds). It makes me aware of how healthy and young and perfect and young her little tiny body is when the smallest of things causes agony. And it makes me aware of how old and worn-out and old and imperfect mine is that I live with chronic knee pain, occasional hip pain, as well as all the little things that remind us that Life Is Pain. But as much as I hate this part of her, do I really want to trade it for some sort of angst-ridden pre-teen-ager that is sobbing because someone was mean to her? Pain and tears that a good night's sleep won't help? Or something that a snack won't cure? You know, because food is such a great cure-all. Hopefully, today will be better. And I will tell about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Itchy Scratchy Show...

AAAAGGGHHHHH!!! She's diseased!!!
Note rash on palm as well as entire arm.

Her lower leg. Notice how little pale skin there is.


...was on all week-end with no commercial breaks. None. Once, in the flush of youth, a boyfriend (let's call him Satan) and I drove from our home on St Simon's Island to California to catch Halloween Grateful Dead shows in Oakland, California. Along the way we went to many national parks, saw the Grand Canyon, etc. We got to Oakland in pouring rain, to a city still recovering from huge devastating fires on the hillside around the city. We checked into a hotel, stayed there for 48 hours, smoking pot and ordering in food. On the television, that entire 48 hours, was a Twilight Zone marathon. Satan and I quickly fell into this surreal existance of sleeping, waking, eating, and watching episodes whenever we climbed out of a stoned stupor. We had no idea if it was day or night, and the episodes kept coming. Finally, we turned the TV off and dragged ourselves to the shows, to see the Dead and listen to Ken Kesey read his own poems out loud during the shows. Around drums, I think. About his son's death. But enough of that!!! Now, almost 20 years later, I felt trapped in the same surreal, timeless hell.



On Friday I picked Flipper up around 2, and we headed home. Then she started scratching. I lifted her shirt and saw a bright pink raised rash all over her lower belly, extending down both legs. I tore her clothes off, washed her, and thought nothing of it. Then, that night, the fever started. And the rash began to spread, until by Saturday morning her face had red raised bumps on it, and it was quickly marching down her arms and legs. She was miserable, scratching and crying. Fever continued unabated. For the first time, I paged one of the pediatricians at our small friendly practice, and met her at the office at 9:30. Gave her Benadryl, more Motrin-all to no avail. Her misery continued all day, all night. She was having some sort of major major allergic reaction to something, probably something she ate. The only bizarre thing she ate Friday was a pomegranate. WTF? Who the hell is allergic to POMEGRANATES, for God's sake? Well, apparently Flipper just might be. By Sunday afternoon I had called the poor doctor back yet again and picked up a prescription anti-histamine. Then her lips and eyes swelled grotesquely. Sadly, she was averse to my photographing her face like that. Finally, finally, she fell asleep and it all slowly went away. Now the big debate begins: do we get her tested for allergies? Do we consider it a possible one-off and just skip pomegranates in our future, which is admittedly easy to do, but perhaps the poor pomegranate is the innocent party here and we don't know it? Stay tuned.



Free legal advice: take lawyer friend to traffic court and skip out with all charges dropped, scot-free.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

I am tempted beyond words to flee the freezing office, make my way the entire 25 boiling hot yards to my car, drive home with the AC on, fretting the whole way becasue it eats gasoline like Flipper eats bank lollipops, and get in bed. Then doze off and on for a few hours, roust myself, and pretend to be High Energy Normal Mommy when Flipper is returned to me later today. She will, of course, beg beg beg to go outside and ride her trike, go for a walk, bounce on the trampoline...all things that were it differently-weathered, I would embrace. But not when it is hot outside. I am so tired all the time and cannot remember when I felt good and energetic. Perhaps that is the worst thing of all: I cannot remember feeling good. It has faded away. I dream and fantasize about my bed from the minute I get out of it until the minute I crawl back in. Yoga last night was incredibly hard, oh, sorry, "hard" isn't really kind-yoga-speak. I should say, instead, "challenging" or "demanding." Right now the only thing more demanding than Flipper's quest for Normal-Mommy to return is my desire to go to sleep. Too bad the office air conditioning is so powerful. Every day I think I will feel better, but I don't. My throat is still puffy adn thick, but Ithink more from being in AC all the time rather than actual illness. Must sleep now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Heaven, of a sorts.


I spoke too soon. Apparently, Flipper's floor foray was a one-off, not to be repeated anytime soon. She thinks sleeping on the floor is "too low" and wants her own bed as tall as mine. Since I am unable to stomach a bedroom filled with bed, we'll just keep on keeping on. Last night we went to Raleigh to have dinner with some very old friends of Keith's, and then mine as well. It was so much fun, one of those times when I felt like such a grown-up, (perhaps a good thing at 39) enjoying salmon while Flipper magically vanished to play with their children for about 2 hours. No screaming, no crying, no adult interference needed at all. My idea of heaven. I remember times like this from my own childhood; dinner parties where the kids would all go outside or to a bedroom and play for hours, but it is only recently that Flipper has been able to do so. They have an almost 7 year old boy and an almost 3 year old girl. It was wonderful. We left at 9, but she never fell asleep on the way home, and didn't until a few minutes after 10!!!! I think she was afraid to fall asleep in the car because she feared my tossing her onto the floor instead of the bed. She reminded me about 30 times that she wanted to be in the big bed. The key is keeping the dog off my bed. There just isn't room for the three of us. I have been thinking about the dogs a lot lately, after Justine brought up the relief she thinks she'll feel when they are a dog-free household. I couldn't agree more, and feel a fair amount of guilt about it. For me, at least, the cliche is true: my dogs were a child substitute of sorts, and now I have the real thing. And my love is more like a pie, perhaps, than sunshine: there seems to be a finite amount these days. I also hate them in the summer, as it is too hot to kick them outside, and every day at 3 I slog around the field, dogs trotting along, and Flipper lying down in the jog stroller, sucking ice water through her CamelBak. Granted, this is my only real exercise these days, so I shoud be thanking them, but instead I feel a resentment of sorts, because it is so hot. 100 today-and we'll be out in the field for 45 minutes. At least it exhausts them and they come home to collapse on the tile floor for a few hours.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Now I lay me down to sleep...

Last night was a milestone, an epoch in Flipper's young life. For the first time since she was born, she spent part of the night OUT of my bed, on the floor beside me in/on her sleeping bag. She valiantly attempted to fall asleep by herself, but just couldn't. So back in my bed she came. Then, around1 a.m., a request for water somehow spurred her into climbing off my bed and lying back down on the floor, where she remained for the rest of the night. She was, in fact, still there this morning at 7:45 when I left for work. But don't worry! The dogs are really responsible! I am always slightly shocked when something I read in some sort of parenting book or magazine actually comes true, even though it happens all the time and I have a child that is, by all definitions, normal. And average. This is what crazy Dr. Sears predicted: around the age of 4-5, kids start to want to sleep on their own and begin the transition from parent's bed to their own. Perhaps more shocking: I don't think I'll miss her all that much, even though now it is just me and the dog. A year-even 6 months ago- and I would have been sad inside, putting on the brave cheerleading-parent face but dying a tiny bit inside, as I do whenever she takes yet another step towards, ultimately, leaving me forever. Last night, however, there were no silent tears. Instead, I was able to sleep the way I like best: diagonally across the bed. No feet kicking and pressing me, no endles shifting of her lead-weight body back to some sort of normal position in the bed, no nothing. Lest you think I exaggerate, I offer the following photgraphic evidence of her inability to sleep in a parallel position to me, or anything else, in the bed. Note: this is not our bed at home.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Severely Extreme

I am at "work" watching a spider creep around the walls of my desk. It is the first bug I have seen here (so far). It is cloudy outside, which makes me foolishly optimistic that it might actually rain at some point today, which would be fantastic. Our state is moving from "severe drought" to "extreme drought". I don't know about the rest of you, but I find droughts very scary. Charles Hatfield nonwithstanding, there are no rainmakers knocking on the doors of City Hall, offering up their services. Yet. Every night I leave my car windows down, in the (vain) hopes that the fates will make it rain, just because my windows are down. Kind of a Murphy's Law thing. Right now I am debating leaving work and going home for the morning, to lie in bed and sleep by myself, since I feel tired and headachy and yuck. Again. I talked to Erica yesterday and she had the same icky illness and her dr. told her it was indeed a virus, and it would take 10-12 days to feel better. I am on Day Number 9. It seems like I will never feel better and have any semblance of energy ever again. I can barely rememebr what it feels like to wake up and have energy, rather than dragging through my day, praying that bedtime comes soon. A "cold front" is supposed to be coming in today, lowering the temp to 90 tomorrow. Amazing that 90 will feel comfortable. Why do I live here again?

p.s. Started raining. Went outside and put windows up. Rain stopped. My Subaru is incredibly powerful, no?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hotter than hot

her little felted-wool landscape with creatures


I tried to post once, but it locked up and failed. I am preparing to leave work, which basically means steeling myself to walk outside into 100-degree weather, go fetch Flipper from Hollow Rock, and head home. I walked to dogs yesterday in the brutal heat, then came home and basically refused to go outside again until this morning. I just can't take it. I opened the house last night at bedtime, erroneously believing (hoping) that it would cool off like it did the night before. Instead, I woke at midnight, burning hot and sweaty. I staggered around the house, shutting windows and turning the AC back on. Flipper never budged. The digital thermostat read 81 degrees inside at midnight. I pray this all ends soon, hopefully with a huge thunderstorm and about 3 feet of rain. I let her take pictures with my camera, and find it fascinating to see what she captures from her (short) perspective. See below.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not for all the tea in China...

Short-haired Flipper with Victoria dressed for winter.

Luna, the Waldorf doll I made Flipper for Christmas, and Victoria in her holiday wear. The red velvet jumper was mine when I was a baby, for my first Christmas. It is adorable, handmade, and has stood the test of time.


If you dig deep enough...you can get to China. And then when you get there, you will find lead pain, dangerous magnets, and the dead bodies of executives. I know that there is something of the snob in me regarding toys, clothes, etc. But now, I feel somewhat justified in my loathing of cheap, hideous plastic toys that require batteries. Because now these toys are more than dangerous to the eye and the soul; they are dangerous to the body as well. Believe you me: there is nothing Flipper would like better than to be surrounded by a sea of pink plastic junk, especially if there is glitter on it. Barbies, My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake...she is immune to none of it's tawdry allure. And, sadly, there just aren't wooden substitutes for Barbie. But...too damn bad for Flipper! Guess who doesn't care...that's right!! ME!!! She can enjoy her little wooden tree blocks and gnome toys or be bored. Really bored. But I noticed, once I stopped buying lots of stuff for her in a frantic attempt to capture her interest for a few hours so I could get something done around the house, that she plays with the same few things over and over again. Right now she is very very into my ancient Madame Alexander doll, Victoria. I got Victoria when I was 5 or 6. Kathryn and I didn't really play with dolls much; vastly preferring stuffed animals that we "operated" on by slicing off limbs and then sewing them back on with wire stitches. Recently Smokey pulled a box of these poor benighted creatures out of her attic and they were truly horrifying to look at. At any rate, Victoria didn't get much attention. I cut off all her eyelashes to make wishes upon, and so her face is bald. Then I abandoned her. Strangely, Flipper has fallen in love with her. And I have to admit, she does look pretty real. She dresses her in my old baby clothes, and wraps an Ace bandage around her legs over and over. She pushes Victoria in a toy stroller, and basically takes good care of her, which warms my tiny heart to no end. Because her naked eyes don't open all the way we are going to send her to the Madame Alexander Doll Hospital for some repairs. Flipper is perfectly content with her wall-eyes; it is Smokey that wants Victoria to be magically transformed to the way she looked...35 years ago. If you don't feel old reading that; well, that's OK. I feel old enough for both of us. Felted wool mushroom and disturbing faceless gnomes. I made this for her birthday. No, she doesn't play with it much but I loved making it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hot AND Dry

I still feel pretty exhausted and icky; a walk around the field with the dogs wore me out. Well, it was 98, with a hot, dry wind blowing. I was pushing the stroller across the field, the wind was hotly blowing, the grass was crunching underfoot, the blackbirds were flitting from tree to tree...and I felt very very Little House on the Prairie, much as I imagine it feels on the Dakota Plains. Except, of course, I am not Laura watching her father's backbreaking labor vanish in some sort of natural disaster in the form of grasshopper plagues, hailstorms, tornadoes, etc. Sadly, one of our dogwoods is dying, the one right outside the front door. Hate to lose hardwoods. The pines, however, can vanish, never to return which would be fine with me, as long as they were magically replaced with full-grown gorgeous trees, preferably ones that shed brilliantly-colored leaves in the fall. This fall Smokey and I are attacking the whole yard, removing the little scrubby cedars, the mangled holly tree, and all the little things I can't identify. I want to be a good gardener, perhaps this is my year. But I doubt it. Ironically, I spent one summer landscaping in Highlands, NC, and absolutely loved. Great for the body, loved being outside, loved the houses we worked on, etc. But I find it hard to work up any enthusiasm to do the same here, mostly because of the heat, and also becasue I hate any type of maintenance work. I want to install, then never deal with it again. Like my house: I want to spend hours cleaning it, and then never have to touch it again. I just left a message for a woman that has a zephir for sale. Flipper loves music, making it in particular, and Ithink she would enjoy the lap harp thingy a great deal. Hopefully she'll call me back! (thanks, Justine!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back from the hills...


Last week, before I left for the mountains, I got sick. I have contracted more annoying fevers and illnesses since Flipper entered my life than in all the years post-college until her birth combined. It is exhausting and it sucks. But last week was really bad. I have never had a sore throat like this, in fact, the word "sore" seems much too gentle and benign. Because this was beyond bad: too painful to even swallow for 2 days. Swollen, and so swollen that it was visible from the outside. My neck was hideous. The whole thing was hideous. Now, 6 days later, it is better, but still hurts some to swallow and feels thick and yucky. But, enough about me! I only hope and pray to my own private atheistic God that Flipper DOES NOT contract this. I suspect deep down that it was strep, from the pain level alone. At the first sign of pain in her we will race to the doctor.


The mountains were fantastic; as we escaped the burning plains of the Piedmont we drove through Winston-Salem, which set a record that day for highest temp so far ever recorded: 106. Hit the Parkway and watched the digital reader on my dashboard begin to drop, down to 86, which is "hot" for Blowing Rock. What they consider hot I consider heavenly. My illness exhausted me fully, but we had a great great time. Flipper became enraptured with Lee and Morrison's CamelBaks, and because I was just so so proud of her incredibly good and flexible behavior all week-end I bought her one when we stumbled across one in the Boone Mast General Store just for kids and I bought it for her. Candy-cotton pink. She is one happy little girl. See below. And, in an aside, we went on this fantastic hike up to Hebron Falls, and there, in an incredibly random run-in, I saw some old friends of mine and Keith's. People I haven't seen since Flipper was 11 months old. It was incredible. What a treat!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Escape


5 years ago, I met Jessica in Raleigh, at Crabtree Valley Mall, to be specific, and on my way home I almost had a panic attack because I was so hot. My Mercedes had no air-conditioning; one mechanic referred to it as "the only weak link in a great car" but nontheless it was a link that could only be fixed to the tune of 2000 dollars. Nothing, and I mean nothing to do with that car was cheap. I had to get the muffler replaced, and it alone was 900 bucks. One part of the car that was in perfect working order was the outside temperature gauge. And stuck in traffic on I-40 that afternoon it read 107. Now, my father will remind you all that it doesn't really MEAN 107, that it is higher than it is outside because you are on pavement, in the sun, whatever. So it might have been off a degree or two. Bottom line: it was incredibly hot. When I finally got home, the phone rang. It was a friend, well, more of an aquaintance, really, and she was in the mountains with her husband for a few days, and invited me up. I left an hour later. Frankly, I would have crawled up a cliff wall to get to someplace cooler. I didn't know her that well, but that quick spontaneous trip has turned into a summer tradition, and today Flipper and I leave to keep that tradition going strong. So many changes have taken place since that first trip in 2002. When I went the first time, I was pregnant but didn't know it. In fact, I wouldn't know it for another 10 weeks, as I thought it was the mold in our shower that was making me sick. Her son was 9 months old, and adorable. The next summer I went back with Flipper, who was a tiny baby. I love it up there. The weather is cool, the house is adorable, we have a good time, and I can't imagine my summer without it. We have gone up there a few other random times, but this is the trip I count on the most. I have been sick for the past few days with the worst sore throat I have ever had. Hideously swollen, with a fever and just plain feeling bad. The blessing of my friend is that she is an excellent cook that loves to do it as well, and so she will cook and I will eat and Flipper and Morrison will run off and play together. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it? Because it sure beats the 103 degree hell this place will be today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Good-Bye, Kitty

Whilst leafing through the paper this morning at "work" I came across a small article that may very well shape Flipper's future career plans!! How great is this: Thai police that break departmental rules must wear a "Hello Kitty" patch on their uniforms as a mark of shame. No one, but no one, is as creative with punishment as Asian and Indonesian countries. Take a good look at Singapore and their very very clean streets. Granted, caning might not be the sign of a particularly progressive government, but you must admire the spirit. No litter or chewing gum on those streets. At any rate...I can't believe this. How I long to see a picture of a policeman with Hello Kitty attached to his uniform somewhere prominent. I will hide this forever from Flipper as I am firmly convinced she would hitchhike to Thailand and become the worst cop ever if it meant she could display Hello Kitty on some part of her body on a daily basis. When I was young, there were a few random Hello Kitty products out there-I think Kathryn had a diary or something like that-but, as with everything plasticky and artificial, Hello Kitty is huge now. Her smirky feline face is everywhere, Target, McDonald's, on clothes, stickers, art supplies, you name it and she is probably on it. Flipper likes Hello Kitty. And I actually find her not too annoying or offensive, which is rare for me and cheap American crap. Hate Barbie, hate Bratz Doll (little sluts) hate almost everything like that. I think I like Hello Kitty because it seems quite innocent, and she is mute. On some depictions, she doesn't even have a mouth at all!! The perfect cat, really. When we were in Maui I bought her a beaded necklace with a tiny glass Hello Kitty charm on it. It is adorable. The purchase shocked even me! I have ordered a new book guaranteed to enrage me: Packaging Girlhood. It is all about the marketing of incredibly inappropriate toys, games, books, clothes to young girls. All of it hyper-sexualized and just plain awful. After reading abou tit online, I came home to find a Halloween costume catalog in my mailbox. Since I look through every catalog that comes my way, Flipper and I curled up on teh couch together and perused it together. The costumes were awful. All the "girl" costumes-and there was no mistaking which belonged to which gender-were either sugary, cotton-candy cutesy princessy, or total Young Slut. Just awful. Last year I instituted a rule in my house that all Halooween costumes had to be something found in nature. Hence, the squirrel. This year she has already decided on a bunny costume, but no albino-ish lab rabbit for Flipper; she will be a cute brown yard rabbit instead. Hello Kitty does not, in fact, count as something found in nature. Note to self: do not repeat last year's error and start making it one day ahead.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Re-Union






As I predicted, the reunion was great but the trip was hellish. Southern mountains so far away!! Seeing cousins fantastic!! Staying with nice gay couple great!! Trip home...8 hours!! How did that happen? Well, let me count the ways. We left at 9:20 yesterday, and then as we crested the Continental Divide between Black Mountain and Old Fort, we came to a total dead stop. Very dead, with that bad feeling that whatever it is, it is going to take a very very long time. Unnervingly, there was no traffic coming up the mountain on the other side either. We got out of the car, walked to the shady mountain side and talked to people for about an hour, and word came around that a tractor-trailer had wrecked down below us, spilling its cargo of lemons and limes. Estimated delay: 3 hours. Unable to stomach this, we decided to cross all three stopped lanes of traffic, then edge through the only break in the concrete barrier, which, fortuitously, was about 7 cars behind us, and backtrack to Black Mountain and try to find another way. We ended up taking US 9 through Bat Cave, missing our turn back towards Old Fort and I-40, and traveling through Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, Rutherfordton...all gorgeous, albeit hideously hot and hazy, before rejoining I-40 near Morganton. Which was still 3 hours away from home. Must say this: Flipper is quite possibly the most flexible and accomodating little person around. Blessedly, we stuck Smokey in the back with her for the entire trip, and, as expected, they talked the entire trip. It was unreal. I honestly cannot understand how their jaws don't get achy and their mouths dry. She was just so good, never complaining about being in a car for that long (with only 2 stops) and not much to do. Besides talk to Smokey. Flipper fell in love with my cousin Dan's son Sam, and followed him around all week-end. All my cousin's kids are older than she is, yet they were all so kind and sweet to her, never trying to ditch her, never letting her be the fall guy, just great to her all week-end. Pictures below, including the bed we slept in. I forgot to take a picture of the shrine to their dead cat, which consisted of a bowl of dessicated cat food and a candle. My bad. It won't happen again.






Thursday, August 2, 2007

More Travel


Tomorrow Flipper and I get into a car for 5 hours. On Sunday, we will get back in same car for 5 hours. I dread all 10 of those hours. When I was youthful and filled with vitality and a greater sense of adventure than I possess now, I loved driving. I loved any and all roadtrips; indeed, I thought nothing of driving 10 hours to a concert (in one day), backtracking 5 hours the next for another show, and then returning, incredibly hung over and a physical train wreck, but exhilerated all the same. I cannot believe that I am the same person that drove around America for 4 weeks about 12 years ago, and loved every minute of it, sleeping in the back of my ancient Volvo staion wagon with my ancient dog Martha every night. Because now I hate it. Anything beyond about 2.5 hours is too long for me. I can't read even though I am bored, I can't sleep, although I get sleepy...all I can do is suffer. And complain, because why should my suffering be silent or solitary? Indeed, shouldn't everyone suffer as much as me? How I wish I had some Xanax or Valium to see me through. But I don't. The upside to this is that we are going to Waynesville for a family reunion. And I love the mountains more than anything in the whole world. Except Flipper. The weather will be cool and fresh, my cousins will fawn over Flipper, telling me how cute she is, and we will just have a great time. Flipper will not enjoy the 5 hours in the car either, and I will feel less guilty complaining because she will do her own share of whining. One day she will be able to read all by herself, and lose herself for hours in books. But until then, it will have to be me, grudgingly reading to her in the car, and Smokey, joyfully reading to her in the car. And we will have to listen to Beetovan's Wig over and over, something that bothers Smokey not at all, but will drive my father and me insane. Unlike him, I have no tiny hearing aid to remove. Flipper wants to advance to a booster seat, and I am ready for some new equipment, so this may well be in our near future. I have to sell the Marathon, and use the proceeds to finance her Parkway, or whatever name Britax has bestowed upon their booster seat. I love Britax for one main reason: unlike almost every other car seat manufaturer, their seats are colorful. I hated all teh navy, black and brown seats I saw before biting the financial bullet that goes hand-in-hand with a Britax. I mean, black? For a child? Not happening. The downside to kissing the Marathon good-bye is that sleep will be more difficult for her. When I was young, up to about age 15, I could pass out in any car, for hours at a stretch. I have tried to talk Flipper into adopting this preferred method of travel, but her FOMS Disease prevents her from this. Never heard of FOMS? Fear Of Missing Something. Some folks have this disease, some don't. The kid that fights every nap, every bedtime because something exciting might be happening? They have it. the adult that wanders hotel corriders at 3 a.m. listening for party noises within? They have it too. Hopefully she'll outgrow it. Until then, I'm trapped reading out loud to her, trying desperately to ignore the siren call of the trashy magazine beside me. And wishing for a Xanax. Or two.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Light In Me...(is going out)

Flipper and Kathryn anointing Ganesha in Maui.
It is almost time for me to leave "work" and head to the ultra-plush alternative-and-traditional medical practice in Chapel Hill that I frequent weekly. I love it there. Everything is new, clean, bright, airy. Including my head person, Laurel Wilkinson. She is the provider for the migraine study I am participating in for 8 weeks. Next week is our last session. I will probably try to still see her once a month. Her main thing is cranio-sacral massage therapy which is really energy work, clearing "blockages" of energy from my head and back and feet. It is not traditional massage in the sense of pushing and kneading. Very light touch. I like her a great deal; we enjoy each other and she has a really good attitude towards her children (now grown) and shares a lot of my (admittedly lazy) parenting practices. When Flipper was born, I never in a million years thought that I would think about it so much, and obsess about ever single aspect of it from pacifiers to plastic toys. Last night I went to yoga, something else I do weekly now. It is fantastic; very hard but attainable and not, blessedly, too slow or filled with New Agey pap. Our teacher is really quite incredible, very enthusiastic, even for out little band of beginners, and yet she corrects our alignment, metes out praise judiciously, and seems to genuinely enjoy herself. So a little namaste to you too, Sommer! Yesterday Flipper achieved a small personal goal: she successfully traversed the bars at Hollow Rock's playground, hand over hand. Her teeny arms looked like they were in danger of springing forth from her sockets. It was cringe-worthy. She has been trying and trying to get all the way to the end, and she has a surprising amount of perserverance for a wee folk. I got there just in time to see her 3 bars from the finish line and she was even happier to have witnesses besides Smokey. I am going to try and do some yoga at home, which will thrill Flipper to no end. She has been trying to copy Kathryn for some time now. (see below). Meadowmont today with Robin and Henry. Very happy to have good reason to drag self off couch. Not a lot of energy lately, Bob says everyone is that way right now as summer drags on.